Saturday, 13 September 2014

Birbalsingh's 'high standards' do not to appear to apply to the Michaela building

Katharine Birbalsingh's strictures on school uniform (sturdy black traditional shoes - send us a picture for approval before purchasing if you are not sure), haircuts (must 'comply' with school policy, presumably nothing expressing any personality or ethnic identity allowed) and umbrellas (only black or blue - nothing colourful) have been received with some amusement LINK

However, Birbalsingh's 'high standards' on uniform and behaviour do not seem to apply to the school building where pupils will start at 11am on Monday.

The pupil entrance is through a builders' door and along a wooded boarded narrow passage way that separates pedestrians from building equipment on one side and stacked cabins on the other. The whole of the area beneath the school appears to be covered in building equipment apart from this passage way.  As far as I could see this morning there is no play area at all at the moment and more importantly nowhere for the children to assemble in the event of a fire.

They would have to evacuate the building along the wooden boarded narrow passage way and assembly outside on the pedstrianised road.

This morning there was a lot of work going on inside the building but what appeared to be  classrooms had no equipment apart from tables and chairs. There may be other rooms hidden from view.

120 excited children, who have waited an extra two weeks for their school to be opened, may well be rather disappointed by what they find when they enter the building for the first time. 




  1. I don't know what you're concerned about with the rubble, scaffolding, congested exits and lack of fire assembly points.. I've no doubt the first thing that Ms B will do on Monday morning is encourage all her staff to join a teachers' union. All unionised by break (do they have breaks?) staff can then hold a meeting at lunchtime and elect a health and safety rep who Ms B will be delighted to meet immediately after school that day (ie 8.30 pm) to discuss and jointly compile a report on the school's pupil safeguarding deficit. They can request an immediate inspection visit from Ofsted (do 'free' schools have Ofsted?) and an official from the health and safety executive. By Wednesday they'll have been shut down until further notice. It'll be a bit unfair on the kids but no one ever said that introducing the people of Brent to high academic standards was going to be easy. And Ms B will certainly be fulfilling her promise to 'bring the values and advantages of a private school education' to the Michaela parents: haven't any of them ever read Waugh's Decline and Fall?

    Seriously though, is this legal?
    Mike Hine

  2. So far Brent Coucil seem to have accepted Michaela's assurances that all is well and on time. However, as the Council has oversight for all children's safety and wellbeing - whether academy, free school, private or local authority - I think it is imperative that Health & Safety, fire officers etc, visit to check whether it is safe for children to enter the building. It isn't now a matter of disagreeing with schools politically but ensuring kids are safe. The same would apply to an LA school in this state.

  3. What if the new students have cement dust on their shoes at first kit inspection on Monday? What will the 'traditional discipline' punishments be?
    2 hours hod carrying after school? Stripping out the lead on the upper floors? Walking the scaffolding plank? Being sat on my Bunter for an hour? Confiscated umbrella on the next rainy day? Listening to Birbalsingh's views on modern educational standards?
    And, slightly more worrying, who's going to be in charge of compliance with the second sentence of this:
    'There are two styles of Michaela trouser (with elasticised waistband or with fitted waistband). Trousers are to be worn at the navel.'
    No, I am not making this up: A safeguarding minefield I'd say.

  4. This seems to breach health and safety and an immediate inspection should take place first thing Monday morning before anyone is allowed in the building.

    Brent has recently been clamping down on rogue traders and if Ms Birbalsingh does not simply accept the need to delay opening until such time as the building is safe and free of potential hazards with builders equipment etc then she must be prosecuted for such breach of health and safety.

    Simple as.

    Clean your shoes and hard hat Me Birbalsingh

  5. I think that, as in so much else, Brent council's decision makers are about to demonstrate once again that there is one law for us and an entirely different law for those who good socialists like Butt, Pavey etc smile on (ie crooked educational knights, dodgy property developers, hedge fund backed Ark wide boys, 'free' school chancers like Birbalsingh and basically any other advocate of all the things which they've spent their political careers claiming to be opposed to).
    Scottish people, you'd be well out of it.
    Mike Hine